Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Lake Louisa State Park

    This park is very close to Disney World, making it an ideal base camp for seeing all the attractions if don’t wish to stay at Disney’s Fort Wilderness. The sites are nicely spaced with enough vegetation for a fair amount of privacy.  Many of the sites will accommodate big rigs.

  The accessible sites are excellent with a concrete parking pad  extending under the table, the grill and the water and electric hookups. The table has long overhangs and the grill is raised. Two of the sites include sewer hookups. A paved path leads to the showers and restrooms. The accessible toilet room is very large and has it’s own sink. The shower stall is also very large, roll in with a fold down seat.  Campground
28.44816, -81.72866

Friday, December 23, 2011

E-Readers and Historic Sites

   An old chimney from a rice thresher is all that’s left of the Butler plantation. The two roadside signs are just enough to stir some interest and a little Googling yields a free book to download with a tale that won’t soon be forgotten. Pierce Butler married Fanny Kemble ,an English actress and soon afterwards inherited several plantations and a large number of slaves. Fanny was appalled at the inhuman and degrading treatment of the slaves which she witnessed firsthand when she visited the plantation over the winter of 1838-1839. Her journal from that time was published in 1863 and may have been partially responsible for England’s decision to not aid the south in the Civil War.  Project Gutenberg download - Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation by Fanny Kemble
   It’s surprising how many searches for more information lead to free books. A good place to start is Wikipedia especially the bibliography section. Once you find a title check Amazon ,Many Books and Project Gutenburg for a free download. I’ve downloaded many more than we’ve had time to read but a sampling includes Adventures of a Forty-niner , Andersonville, The Acadian Exiles, American Notes and Adventures in the Unknown Interior of America.

Lake Dorr Campground

   One of the many Ocala National Forest campgrounds – this one has roomy, well spaced sites under a canopy of tall pine trees with plenty of vegetation for privacy. Large enough for any motorhome. The entrance road is hard to spot because there is just one sign. The road widens for a left turn lane. Look for that and also signs for Pittman Visitor Center which is on the opposite side of  Route 19 almost directly across from the campground entrance.

   None of the sites are designated as handicapped accessible but all of the tables have long overhangs. The ground is hard parked dirt and pine needles so rolling is pretty easy.  Campground
29.01244, -81.63989

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Huguenot Memorial Park

    This little city campground is located on a narrow strip of land with Fort George Inlet on one side and St Johns River on the other. Some of the campsites are just steps away from the water and appear to get a lot of use. The campground was almost empty when we visited probably because there are no electric hookups. The sites are close together with no vegetation for privacy and shade. A naval base is located across the river so it’s a little noisy from helicopters and ships. The sites are large enough for any RV.

   Two of the sites are accessible with concrete pads under the picnic table and a sidewalk that leads to the restroom and  snack bar. The other sites have soft sand.  Campground
30.40698, -81.41276

Ribault Club

  After the Civil War, without slave labor, it became impossible to operate cotton plantations. In the years following the war the plantation on Fort George Island was a farm, a tourist resort, a citrus grove and finally a retreat for wealthy Jacksonville residents. Ribault Club, built in the 1920s, has recently been renovated and is available for weddings and other events. There’s a small museum in several of the rooms but other than that not much to do.

  The club is accessible.

  The road to the club is one lane with overhanging branches so use caution if you have a large RV. The parking lot is large enough for RVs. Club
30.42799, -81.42465

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Kingsley Plantation

  Free ebook from Amazon - Slave Narratives from Florida

  Fort George Island was a Sea Island cotton plantation during the 25 years that it was owned by Zephaniah Kingsley. The plantation house, outbuildings and slave houses are still standing. Displays in some of the buildings and signs scattered around the grounds, give insight into the interesting story of this family and the slaves who lived and worked in the cotton fields.

 The site is partially accessible. The pathway is made from shredded rubber, a little spongy which requires some effort to push along.  The pathway goes to the main buildings. Many of the signs are off the path. The ground is uneven and hard to push along.

 A one lane sandy road leads to the plantation. The road is in good condition but people with large RVs may want to avoid it because of overhanging branches and the narrow width of the road. The parking lot is large enough for RVs.   Plantation
30.43894, -81.43748

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Jekyll Island Bike Path

   The bike path winds through moss draped trees, alongside salt marshes, into the historic district and along the beach. The section that we did on the north end of the island was very nice, wide, level and fairly smooth.
  Jekyll Island has a long and interesting history, much of it can be accessed from the bike path. Ruins from the first European settler are located right off of the path. Traveling along the side of the road for a short while is necessary if you want to continue to the historic section where the cottages are located from the era when the island was a millionaires’ private vacation club.
  The beaches on the north tip and the east side are hard enough to ride a bike or push a wheelchair along. Getting to the hard packed sand might be a problem.
  We didn’t have enough time to explore the whole island but we’ll definitely be coming back someday to see the rest. Jekyll Island is a state park but is managed by the Jekyll Island Authority who is responsible for development on the island which includes hotels and privates houses but also public things like the bike path and beaches. Fortunately 65% of the land must remain in a mostly natural state. ( no Hilton Head here!) There’s a $5.00 a day parking fee which is collected as you enter the island.                  Bike Path          Island History
31.1045, -81.41367

Jekyll Island Campground

   The camp sites are surrounded by huge live oaks, shady and quiet. There are six accessible sites which have paved sidewalks leading to the restrooms, laundry room, and store/office. Most of the tables in all of the sites have a long overhang. The ground in the regular sites is hard packed dirt. The sites are pretty close together.

  Directly across the street from the campground is a road which leads to a long, wheelchair accessible fishing dock. You can also access the paved walking/biking trail by crossing the street from the campground.  Campground
31.10507, -81.40811

Monday, December 19, 2011

Smallest Church in America

   This little church is complete with seats, a pulpit, and stain glass windows. The door is always open and the church is available for marriage ceremonies.

   The door is a bit narrow so a wide wheelchair may not fit through but you can get a good view from the doorway.

   The parking area is large enough for RVs.   Church
   31.63836, -81.39491

Bamboo Farm & Coastal Gardens

  This property was once a rice plantation. Now it’s an education and research center, part of the University of Georgia. Visitors are welcome to wander the grounds but most of it isn’t wheelchair accessible. The camellia garden has beautifully bricked paths and some of the other areas can be seen by wheeling along the roadways.

  Large RVs will fit in the lot if parked across the spaces. Garden
31.99738, -81.26924

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Fort Pulaski National Monument

   Construction on Fort Pulaski began in 1829 as part of the federal government’s coastal fortification system. It was still incomplete in 1860 when the Confederate government seized it. The fort, with 7 1/2 ‘ walls, was considered unbreachable but the Confederates didn’t count on the Union’s new experimental rifled canons. The battle to regain control of the fort lasted 30 hours. A huge gap was opened in the wall and the Confederates were forced to surrender.

   The visitor center has a ramp and is fully accessible. The fort is semi accessible. Paved paths lead to the enclosed fort area but the ramp after the moot bridge is dangerously steep. Most wheelchair users will need to have some help. Paved paths make a complete circle around the inside perimeter of the fort. There are a few ramps to access some of the inner room but most of the furnished quarter rooms do not have ramps. The area around the exterior of the fort is uneven with thick grass making pushing along hard. A very nice paved trail at the far end of the parking lot leads to a view of the water and loops back to the parking lot. Take the 1/2 mile picnic area spur out and back for a longer trip.

  The parking area is large enough for any RV.  Fort
  32.02772, -80.89218

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Savannah History Museum

    A brief history of Savannah is told with artifacts from the most notable events. Watch the short movie for more insight into the founding of the city and how it has changed through the years.

   Most of the museum is accessible. The walkway to the entrance door is sloped and the doors are heavy so getting in is awkward. The second section in the museum is up a few steps but it also has a small elevator. Part of the train display has an elevated portion but no ramp. Wheelchairs can fit in front of the first row of seats in the theater. The building also houses a couple of gift shops, a snack bar, and the visitor center. The visitor center is up a level and can be accessed by a very steep ramp or a small elevator.

  The parking lot has a section for RVs. The first hour is free, $1.00 an hour after that.  Museum
  32.07607, -81.0997

Friday, December 16, 2011

Gibbes Museum of Art

  This is a small museum with a permanent collection highlighting the people and places of South Carolina low country plus several changing galleries. The museum is all accessible except for some of the miniature paintings which are in a case that is too high to view easily.

   Parking is very limited in Charleston. It’s not a good place for navigating a large RV but if you don’t mind a one mile walk, free all day parking is available along the west side of Colonial Lake. Any size RV will fit. The sidewalks and curb cuts aren’t in very good condition so most wheelchair users will need to have some help.   Museum
32.77843, -79.93203
south carolina1

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Charleston Museum

    Most of the exhibits in this museum pertain strictly to Charleston with good information on the early rice plantations, the wealth of the planters who founded the city, the life of the slaves, and both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Additional galleries cover natural history, textiles, silver, and hands-on for kids.  The Early Days gallery is the only one that strays from local history. It contains an eclectic assortment of objects collected and donated by early residents.

  Everything is accessible.

 The parking lot is large enough for vans and small RVs. Museum
32.7896, -79.93596
    south carolina1

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Confederate Museum

  More of a shrine than a museum - the one large room contains hundreds of Confederate Civil War relics. Each sliver of wood, tattered bit of flag, old uniform, shell fragment, or crumbling letter is carefully documented but little information is given about the war itself. The museum sits atop the city market which houses vendor stalls where you can purchase local crafts and food items.

  An elevator under the center arch accesses the museum. Carry your phone because you must call the museum. They operate the elevator from above. The museum is all accessible. The city market is accessible too but there are doors between the sections. Someone held every one opened for us so I’m not sure if they’re heavy.

  Parking is very limited in Charleston. It’s not a good place for navigating a large RV but if you don’t mind a one mile walk, free all day parking is available along the west side of Colonial Lake. Any size RV will fit. The sidewalks and curb cuts aren’t in very good condition so most wheelchair users will need to have some help.   Museum
32.78066, -79.93136
south carolina1

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Charles Pinckney National Historic Site

  Charles Pickney was an author and signer of the US constitution. This historic site marks the location of one of the many family plantation properties that he inherited from his father. The house, while it is a historic 19th century rice plantation house, is not the same one that the Pickney family used on their visits. The house has exhibits about the Pickney family history, Charles’s role in the revolution, and the operations of a rice plantation.

  The path around the grounds is paved and the museum exhibits are accessible. A small outdoor elevator can be used to access the porch and house interior.

  The parking area is large enough for RVs. House
  32.84564, -79.82471
  south carolina1

Monday, December 12, 2011

Elmwood Recreation Area

   This is a national forest hunt camp that is opened for primitive camping year round. It doesn’t have many amenities but it does have stone fire rings, water faucets, a pit toilet, and large open camping areas, either under the trees or in clearings. The ground is hard packed so rolling is fairly easy. Very quiet.  Camp
33.19912, -79.4699
south carolina1

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hampton Plantation State Historic Site

   Free ebook from Amazon - Slave Narratives From S.Carolina

  Hampton was a very large rice plantation. In 1850 over 200,000 pounds of rice were grown and harvested using the labor of hundreds of slaves. The house is not furnished so tours focus on the construction technics used in building the original smaller house and the additions that brought it to it’s present size. This park could use some more exhibits and other information about the family, the slave families, and rice cultivation in general.

  Nothing is accessible. A small bookstore where tickets for the house tour are sold has a ramp but has no information to make it worth visiting. The path to the house is composed of soft sand. The house has many steps to the entrance and no ramp.

 The parking area is large enough for RVs. The road in is a little narrow and winding. Park
33.20056, -79.43458
south carolina1

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Myrtle Beach State Park

  If you want to camp here in the summer, it’s best to make an early reservation.  At this time of year – no problem, plenty of empty sites. The sites are close together with little vegetation between them for privacy. Supposedly two sites are handicapped accessible. The only one that I found is one of the worse sites in the park, small and in a high traffic area. There are no provisions which make it more accessible than any of the other sites and it’s far away from a restroom. Many of the other sites are much more suitable. They all are fairly level with hard, sandy ground. None of the tables have long overhangs. Disabled South Carolinians are eligible for a discount of 35% on camping fees.

 A paved trail, leading to a section of boardwalk, starts at the campground and runs to the park store and a long fishing pier. Campground
33.6535, -78.92629
south carolina1